While about 100 baby loggerhead sea turtles will hatch from every nest — and there are thousands each year — only about one in every 1,000 will survive to adulthood. With the odds against the majority of them, scientists have been researching ways to improve survival rates of the threatened species and have turned to innovative tracking methods in order to learn more about their early lives.
Kate Mansfield, a scientist with the University of Central Florida, for example, recently published research about tracking baby turtles and described how getting the trackers onto the young brood initially posed a problem.
“This is the first time the little turtles have been tracked,” Mansfield told Inside Science TV.
Mansfield and her team drummed up an idea to stick the trackers on the hatchlings using hair glue and a few other unexpected items.
“We used a combination of hair extension glue, nail acrylic, old wet suits and some aquarium silicone,” Mansfield told Inside Science TV of the solar-powered satellite tags that attach to the baby turtles’ shells.
Watch Inside Science’s report about the turtle tracking technique and its findings:
When researchers watched the baby turtles, they saw them swimming out of the ocean current where they expected them to stay and into floating brown algae instead.
“There might be food, there’s refuge, they sit on top of the algae so predators underneath can’t see them,” Mansfield said.
According to the research published earlier this year, staying near the surface while in their young and adolescent years also provided the cold-blooded turtles with more warmth from the sun, Smithsonian Magazine reported.
“[T]heir metabolism kicks in and they start feeding more, and they may grow faster,” Mansfield told Smithsonian. “So, temperature can also help turtles grow and survive.”
With this initial information, scientists have a slightly better idea about what could be done to provide useful protection for recent hatchlings.
(H/T: Scientific American)